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What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is software that makes it easy to manage online information

04 March 2015

Content Management System


A Content Management System is more than just a website management tool, a good CMS will also allow users to register, personalise a website for a user or group and allow interaction between the visitor and the website. A CMS can save time and money in the long-term and can provide website visitors with a tailored viewing experience.


ADVANTAGES OF A Content Management System

The key advantage of a CMS is how it stores and reproduces information.

  • Most site content is stored in a database as text. When a page is requested over the internet the text is grabbed, delivered to a template and then styled by a style sheet.
  • All this takes a matter of milliseconds. To save processing time popular pages are cached (stored in the system) and can be accessed faster. Because a template is used the look of the whole site can be changed as quickly as it takes to change one template.

A CMS usually has an easy interface for content writers.

  • This means that non-technical people can add and edit content, saving the cost of technicians and cutting the number of hands content passes through before going live.
  • This reduces the bottleneck in I.T., improves content time to air and saves the cost of paying technicians for content changes.
  • An effective CMS will allow individual editors permission to edit their content areas and use workflow processes that ensure all content is approved before going live.
  • A good CMS will improve the way content is managed and save ongoing costs where organisations would typically pay a technician to add content to a site or make changes. Everything from the headings to the menus are automatically generated making changes in architecture and adding pages simple.

A CMS can use an online or web interface with all software loaded on the server.

  • This means content editors don't need additional software to edit the website. A good CMS will usually only require a web browser like Internet Explorer and a reliable internet connection.
  • This results in savings on software, individual installations and computers capable of running the software.


Content management system costs

A CMS will probably have higher initial costs that a static html website but can work out cheaper in the longer term. Whether or not a CMS will provide better long-term value for money depends on the required features. In addition to the project management time and charges there are one-off and ongoing costs.

Setup costs

  • Specifying for and purchasing software
  • Technical setup, installation and customisation of features
  • Design of the templates and styles
  • Site planning, architecture and testing
  • Content writing and transfer
  • Training for editors and internal technicians

Ongoing costs

  • Website hosting and domain names
  • Ongoing software costs, upgrades or licence fees
  • Maintenance, usually a monthly fee and hourly charge
  • Content editor and webmaster time
  • Site technical upgrades and customisation

Ongoing savings

  • Editors updating content instead of expensive technical staff
  • Improved workflow improving time to air for content
  • Automated features reducing person input time e.g., automated subscription management
  • Speed and ease of design updates using templates

Content Management System 

Choosing A Content management system

The factors that make it worth investing in a CMS vary for every installation. The open source content management system TYPO3 is a very good tool to get started with, for example. The cost, savings in time and ease of management will depend on the features and scale of the website. The rules of thumb are that a CMS becomes more viable when:

  • It is becoming difficult to manage your website because there are too many pages
  • The content of the site changes regularly
  • Adding or editing content has become a log-jam at one place or person
  • Additional features like site personalisation, search engines and user security is required
  • There is a need for forced consistent styling across many departments or groups

There are many factors involved and many products available, you can do more research or hire a consultant who has experience with implementing a CMS. We are happy to help you getting started with your content management system!